Random quote of the day:

“The touchstone to plausibility in imaginative fiction is probably coherence. Realistic fiction can be, perhaps must be, incoherent in imitation of our perceptions of reality. Fantasy, which creates a world, must be strictly coherent to its own terms, or it loses all plausibility. The rules that govern how things work in the imagined world cannot be changed during the story.”

—Ursula K. LeGuin, “Plausibility in Fantasy,”, 2005


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.


Random quote of the day:

“Let us never accept the point of view that mysteries are written by hacks. The poorest of us shed our blood over every chapter. The best of us start from scratch with every new book.”

—Raymond Chandler, Raymond Chandler Speaking


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

The current novel, The Numberless Stars, may be doomed in today’s market.  (The story of my life.)  I seem to be writing a female POV picaresque fantasy novel, and I don’t believe there’s any tolerance for that sort of thing in today’s instant gratification climate.

Of course, at this stage of the game the novel sucks (it’s a barely there first draft), so perhaps it isn’t a valid test of the viability of the picaresque, fantasy or otherwise.  It’s too twee, too infodumpy, too lacking in immediate and identifiable conflict.  Maybe the fault, dear Brutus, is not with the genre but with myself, my execution of said genre.  A story which wanders hither and yon and uses satire to point out a society’s flaws may indeed have some place in today’s world, but a wandering story which doesn’t engage the reader in some fashion early on is just a badly written novel.

Lord knows my first drafts take way too long to get to the point.  I spend enormous amounts of time getting the feel of the characters just so and have an unfortunate tendency to throw it all on the page.  My rewrites consist of paring down and refining, taking out gallons of character and tangential lard and boiling it down to make candles. And that’s for the novels that aren’t picaresque.  God save me if I actually write a novel where wandering around and having episodic adventures and living by one’s wit is built into the genre.

Because even if the conflict is there on the first page, it’s rather broad and cyclical:

  • Hortensia versus the Western Society of her time.
  • Hortensia versus her family.
  • Hortensia versus deity, leading to transformation.

Then cycling back to:

  • Hortensia versus her family, and finally,
  • Hortensia versus the Western Society of her time.

God help us all.

Here’s another writing question for you: does every genre story have to start in media res?

I think it may be a genre preference, and I do often enjoy stories that begin with a burst of speed, throwing the reader into the water and forcing them to swim or drown. Certainly, if you’re writing urban fantasy or paranormal romance or space opera or some such sub-genre, you’re probably going to want a quick immersion in plot.

But those aren’t the only kind of stories, and some of my favoritest stories in the world have not begun with a bang and a pop. They’ve built slowly, meandered through interesting character and setting introductions, created magic with language, every so many lovely loads of language, and eventually, yes eventually, wandered up to the plot and politely shaken hands before throwing it to the mat and beginning the wrestling match.

I’m not sure those kinds of stories are in fashion anymore. But I would be interested to know what you think on the subject. This is another of those personal preference things, and there is no wrong or right answer, I don’t think. There is just what is, and what you think, and what the market will bear.

Or what the reader will bear.